Postal unions seek White House help on pay, benefits

Four unions representing the nation's postal workers are pleading for a meeting with the White House to address possible funding shortfalls for workers' payroll and retiree health benefits, according to a letter obtained by CongressDaily.

The presidents of the American Postal Workers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, National Association of Letter Carriers and National Postal Mailhandlers Union co-signed the Tuesday letter to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, warning that the U.S. Postal Service is at risk of defaulting on a $5.4 billion payment to prefund retiree health benefits at the end of September.

The letter alleges that USPS "may not be able to make payroll in October and will be forced to issue IOUs instead."

Yvonne Yoerger, a spokeswoman for USPS, confirmed that the unions wrote the letter but disputed the claim that payroll deadlines will be missed.

"That's not something that's been discussed at all," she said. "We are committed to making payroll."

Yoerger said USPS will continue to work with OMB and the Office of Personnel Management to determine if and how the Postal Service can meet the Sept. 30 deadline to pay forward $5.4 billion in future health liability costs.

The Postal Service is required by law to set aside funds for future retiree health care costs, rather than paying recipients as costs are incurred as other government agencies do. As a result of a $3 billion loss to date this year, the unions wrote, no money is available for those future payments, and regular payroll deadlines may not be met unless other funds are tapped.

"Such a [financial] collapse can be averted without resort to a taxpayer bailout by reforming the retiree health prefunding provisions of the law and [by] giving the Postal Service access to its own resources in the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, which now has a balance of $32 billion," the unions wrote.

But that transfer of funds would require congressional approval, and the unions fear that pressure from the White House will be needed to prompt quick action. "We believe that the Obama administration must intervene now to avoid both a political and economic train wreck," they wrote.

Reps. John McHugh, R-N.Y., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., introduced legislation this year that would amend the law to allow USPS to reach deeper into the flush Retiree Health Benefits Fund, but the unions argue the measure would not do enough to fix the financial problems.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.